Earlier today we caught some news of Intel and Micron extending their joint agreement to develop and create flash memory under the IMFT name. Along with this extension came some rearrangements to the current plan. Intel will be selling off their stake in two of the smaller fabs, located in Singapore and Manassas, VA. The sale is for $600 million, half of which will stay with Micron as a credit that Intel can use to later purchase NAND flash produced from those factories.
The ‘tip of the spear’ IMFT fab located in Lehi, Utah, will remain jointly owned and operated. This makes good business sense as the Lehi fab is the first to shift to smaller process nodes. IMFT announced 25nm flash memory production at this very fab in early 2010.
PC Perspective toured IMFT Utah during the 25nm launch announcement.
Some may see this as Intel taking a step away from flash memory, but I see it as quite the contrary. Micron has always tended towards being a bulk producer of memory products, while Intel are the promary innovators in the arena. This move allows Intel to focus on the bleeding edge plant while Micron handles the particulars of cranking out those technologies developed at the Lehi Plant. It is likely that the highest grade flash comes from the Lehi plant, and Intel’s half of the output is more than enough to supply their SSD production lines.
INTEL, MICRON UPDATE NAND FLASH MEMORY JOINT VENTURE
Companies Expand Successful NAND Flash Memory Joint Development Program to Include Development of Emerging Memory Technologies
SANTA CLARA, Calif. and BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 28, 2012 – Intel Corporation and Micron Technology, Inc., today announced that the companies have entered into agreements to expand their NAND Flash memory joint venture relationship.
The agreements, which are designed to improve the flexibility and efficiency of the joint venture, include a NAND Flash supply agreement for Micron to supply NAND products to Intel and agreements for certain joint venture assets to be sold to Micron. Under terms of the agreement, Intel is selling its stake in two wafer factories in exchange for approximately $600 million—the approximate book value of Intel’s share. Additionally, Intel will be receiving approximately half of the consideration in cash and the remaining amount will be deposited with Micron, which may be refunded or applied to Intel’s future purchases under the NAND Flash supply agreement. The agreements also extend the companies’ successful NAND Flash joint development program and expand it to include emerging memory technologies.
“Micron’s joint venture NAND development efforts with Intel are a model of innovation, productivity and effectiveness,” said Micron Chief Executive Officer Mark Durcan. “With IM Flash and its associated programs, our companies have become leaders in the NAND Flash arena. These new agreements build on that success.”
“The Intel-Micron partnership has created industry-leading NAND Flash memory technology and developed a robust global manufacturing network. The new NAND Flash supply agreement with Micron gives Intel better flexibility to meet growing demand for SSDs and other products,” said Robert Crooke, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, Intel.
As part of these agreements, Micron will increase its share of the overall NAND Flash output and optimize its global manufacturing network by purchasing the assets of IM Flash Singapore (IMFS) and the IM Flash Technologies (IMFT) assets in Manassas, Va.
Micron has also agreed to supply Intel with NAND Flash memory from its facilities. The IMFT joint venture NAND manufacturing facility in Lehi, Utah, will continue to operate with minimal changes to its existing operations. The facility is currently in production on the companies’ industry-leading 20nm NAND Flash memory technology. The transaction is expected to close during the first half of this year, subject to certain conditions.
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Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available at newsroom.intel.com and blogs.intel.com.
Micron Technology, Inc., is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions. Through its worldwide operations, Micron manufactures and markets a full range of DRAM, NAND and NOR flash memory, as well as other innovative memory technologies, packaging solutions and semiconductor systems for use in leading-edge computing, consumer, networking, embedded and mobile products. Micron’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ under the MU symbol. To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc., visit www.micron.com.